Friday, December 31, 2010
Wednesday, December 22, 2010
Saturday, December 18, 2010
An exciting couple of days, hosting a Practice Exchange event which we produced jointly with the Platform for Intercultural Europe at Rose Bruford. Under the title Interculturalism: Art and Policy we were able to bring together some of the most exciting artists from diverse cultural traditions who are currently working in Britain, and to get them interacting with people from academia, policy-making, social and political activism etc. It's an important step for us as company - it gives us a voice in Brussels, and it brings our artistic work into dialogue with political processes. Right now, that seems a pretty urgent need.
Tuesday, November 30, 2010
Thursday, November 18, 2010
Still, we went into the final show on Sunday with a combined sense of loss and determination to be brilliant - and as a result had an amazing night. Last shows are often faintly disappointing, because the cast strive for a definitive performance and there really is no such thing. But this show, which is in many ways about loss, benefited hugely from the circumstances, and was very moving and beautiful. At the reception afterwards, the Swedish managements, funders and artistic guests all kept using the same word: "poetic". I like that. The performance was in the space at Pustervik, where I saw Victoria perform in the Festival on my first Swedish trip in 2008. Exciting to end the project in this lovely space which I know from its beginnings.
Filip and I shared the driving of the van to Dusseldorf on Monday, and then I did the last slog through the fog of northern Europe on Tuesday. The air of melancholy was appropriate, I suppose. But I didn't linger in it for long - the emails and meetings have been constant since I got back, and of course we are recruiting staff!
Saturday, November 13, 2010
To be honest, we didn't expect much of Boras. It's an industrial town, a bit grey and rainy, and nothing like as pretty as Skovde was in the snow the other day. The theatre is a converted 50s cinema, with architecture that wouldn't have disgraced Stalinism, and Filip confessed it was really only in the tour so that there were three regional venues. When we set out from Gothenberg yesterday morning, only 15 people had booked to see the show there, in spite of the radio and TV coverage.
In a way, I guess that meant the pressure was off. Lloyd, Amy and Dori were very relaxed as they sorted out the set and lights, and we looked through all the states in detail. We even had time to rehearse some of the more tricky scenes on the tiny stage. No dimmer panics here: a new improved show featuring actors in light! So - oddly - we had rather a wonderful night. Especially since the audience which actually walked through the door was large, lively, diverse and appreciative. Lots of rhythmic clapping at the end. People buzzing with joy to have seen work of this kind in such an unlikely place.
Oddly, the final scene, which was a comic highlight in both London and China, doesn't seem to appeal to the Swedish sense of humour. With only three performances here, it's tricky to re-work it, but I'm fascinated to know why (and so far I have no idea). Other comedy works really well - especially, and not surprisingly, the tri-lingual scene in which Maja and Sammy learn bits of Swedish and Chinese. The Miss Julie bits have a strong resonance too. All part of the fascinating journey of this show between different very specific local responses to global ideas.
I've been reading some of the new Plagrave series of Theatre and... books since I've been here: specifically Ric Knowles on Interculturalism and Dan Rebellato on Globalization. I'm starting to wonder if it's right to define what we are doing as intercultural theatre. In Knowles's terms, this idea seems suspect, smacking of cultural imperialism, unless it's a form of "interculturalism from below", by which he means work initiated by non-white cultures and by-passing white mediation. Which doesn't cover us. A closer approximation is the idea of cosmopolitanism, at least as explained by Rebellato, who puts it forward as a positive response to globalization, which avoids the capitalist imperative of that movement, and the Luddism of localist response. In the end, theses are all just words, but they help to stimulate artistic and political ideas about where we might go next.
Thursday, November 11, 2010
The theatre in Skovde is beautiful - modern, open and acoustically warm. It also has dimmer racks which don't work - so they had to be replaced before we could focus the lighting rig. As a result, the planned dress rehearsal went by the board - leaving Dori to operate her first show as her first run-through. It didn't seem to faze her as much as it did me. The lighting was actually more of a problem than the video, since we had no time to work through the cues or to make focus adjustments. There were key moments which were very dark, and moody moments that were too bright. It was all a bit of a mess, to be honest. And nobody's fault, really.
Still, the audience enjoyed the night. And it was a big audience too - several schools seemed to have decided this was one for their older pupils, so there was a large teenage contingent. The humour was as lively as it was with other young audiences - though in slightly different places, of course. One of the great joys of this project is the way the play's meaning alters slightly with every different audience. We changed a couple of moments - Bjorn's award acceptance now goes into Swedish when he's becoming most personal with Maja, and his "meltdown" is in a mixture of Swedish, English and Chinese. He also translates Radhakrishna's poem into Swedish. Oddly, I find the music of Swedish and Kannada rather similar. For the first time, this sounds like a duet.
Tuesday, November 09, 2010
At 9.20, it ground to a halt on the M25. Total stasis. The engine wouldn't re-fire. I phoned the RAC. Forty minutes later Derek showed up (this is the cameo which Michael Gambon will play in the road movie). Derek looked under the bonnet and shook his head. The engine rattled about. He employed a few choice technical terms to suggest that we weren't going to get to Sweden in this particular van. He then said that, even though we'd specifically taken RAC international cover for it, and that I'd been told my personal cover would work in the UK, this van was too big for them to recover. And he left us at the side of the road.
The van itself seemed to have AA cover. So that was worth a try. Forty minutes later Jeff showed up (this is more a John Hurt role). He instantly towed the van. To Thurrock services. There it ws met by a mechanic who agreed that Derek had been right. At least the AA would take it home - but that was that.
Phoned Nisha and got her to do some mad Googling. Somehow she managed to find the only van hire place in the entire world which is open on Sunday mornings and hires vans to go to Sweden. She then drove round to Thurrock, children in tow, to pick us up. By now it was 1pm, and the van hire place closed at 1.30. I drove like a lunatic back to Enfield, and somehow made it in time to hire the new van. We drove it to Thurrock services, and re-loaded everything in the rain on the car park tarmac. Luckily another AA tow-truck arrived with perfect timing to deal with the wreck, and we were on our way. We finally made it to Calais at 6.30pm - when it had been planned for noon.
Somehow, with insane dashing through Europe and a snatched kip in Dortmund, we made it to Sweden by Monday night. It's very cold here. Snowing. But the team is re-assembled.
Tuesday, November 02, 2010
Sunday, October 24, 2010
Because of the gender and the place which we couldn’t even decide by ourselves, we living in very different ways. Someone faced to death directly, like Cuihua’s daughter. And someone who like to be a woman, but born to be a man, like Sammy. Though he is brave to change, and make money in his way, he has to burden a lot of course.
And as Alex, she is the one who cannot live with questions. She loves Song, Song loves her too, but her act of that, is escape, escape from the life, escape from “odd acting”. Maybe her parents’ marriage is a tragedy, which affects her; maybe she just wants to have the “mummy’s love”. She tried, but failed, so, to take rebirth is a better way for her, just like Velu’s feeling about his girl. She dances like a swan, and the swan lowed its head when Julian and Mary being together. Because of their acting, she came into this world, and that brings her a lot of sadness.
We should try new things, instead of ordered by other people or life. Actually, there are so many things in our life, which make us hard to change, hard to being ourselves, but that’s the real life. That’s what Linda. Maya and even Johan’s doing.
Just like this show, we couldn’t know what our life want to tell us, but we living in it.
In my opinion, this show is kind of having philosophy meaning. And I really surprised you can put those ideas into one show. The more I saw it, the more I want to re-consider my own life. That’s the interesting part for me---thinking.
One of my teachers said: yesterday is destiny, but you’re the master of your future. I like this, and it’s a good conclusion of Re-Orientations I think."
Thursday, October 21, 2010
Saturday, October 16, 2010
As with the Shanghai workshop last Sunday, I decided to work from images. It was fascinating to see what was in the psyche of these young Chinese people. The idea of shame was very strong - lots of images of an individual being harangued by the mob: the Cultural Revolution lives on.... There was one extraordinary scene in which a Western male student improvised a liaison with a Chinese prostitute: incredibly daring for a young Chinese performer. This girl, who calls herself "Ivy", turns out to be one of Roshni's most capable students, and gets the job of showing me a bit of Ningbo the next morning. She's very articulate - and wants to be a playwright. She's also very aware that it's virtually impossible to make a living that way. Her parents want her to switch to Business Studies. We wonder arond Ningbo's huge and beautiful lake, looking at old women washing clothes in its waters, and carrying them back into ramshackle old houses. They've probably lived here all their lives - and yet seen so much change.
Roshni had booked a bus to bring a student party up to Shanghai to see the show, so I travelled back with them. It was lovely to get chance to have long chat with Roshni - about the vagaries of working with China, about Dev Virahsawmy's newer plays, and about her developing critical ideas about cosmopolitanism. A much more alive and interesting approch than post-colonialism, which is, as she says, "a bit tired" as a theory now.
The show is entering its final weekend in Shanghai, and is selling out. Not that this means it's full - at least until half an hour into the show, when the last of the audience has finally arrived. I'm learning to accept the constant coming and going, the glow of the mobile phones, the chattering and the general lack of reverence. In fact, last night I became very aware of the fact that they weren't just talking - they were participating very actively in the performance, explaining to one another what was going on, or getting excited about images and ideas. What's more, the audience is going on a real journey with the play. By the second half, there is a palpable calm in the room, and an intensity of concentration and absorption which is all the more telling for being so uncharacteristic.
All of which is very gratifying.
Thursday, October 14, 2010
The only pavilion with any hint of integrity (except possibly the British, which I didn't see, but Tony did and liked) is the UN one. Here at least there is no market force at work, and so there are gentle reminders of the Millennium Goals and our utter failure to meet them. There is no queue to get into this pavilion. On the other hand, the China Pavilion has a queue two hours long. On a Monday.
Given the emptiness of so much current cultural fare, I am finding the profundity of the Chinese audience's response to our work very remarkable. On Sunday, I led a workshop for about 30 people, mainly younger ones, at SDAC. The level of creativity on display was extraordinary. They very quickly grasped the idea of working without text, of improvisation, of starting from objects or images. There was a brilliant scene about basketball and group dynamics, a very funny one about people escaping from prison (interesting given the recent news), a disturbing one about people losing limbs, and at least two car-crashes. All done with a great deal of warmth and laughter. The resilience of human creativity never ceases to amaze me.
Saturday, October 09, 2010
From a purely selfish standpoint, we're hoping that the Chinese government's fury only extends to Norway (which by historical accident awards this particular prize), and not to the main Nobel country, Sweden. If it does, then we can forget the last leg of this project. I suspect we'll be OK. China is too pragmatic to be consumed with irrational fury these days.
Liu Xiaobo probably doesn't even know he's won the prize. Neither do the bulk of his countrymen. But it's a bold and powerful decision - far better than the token nod towards Obama for not being Bush last year, and much better than the travesties of awards to Henry Kissinger, Yasser Arafat and Menachim Begin. This is a man who has made it his life's work to strive towards human rights in China, and has sacrificed any semblance of a normal way of living to achieve that aim. Reading his speech from the dock, you cannot but be incredibly moved.
The strange thing is that his talk of liberation and human dignity is very similar to the rhetoric of the people who founded the PRC. Or at least some of them. Since I've been here, I've been reading Han Suyin's wonderful biography of Premier Zhou Enlai, and this morning I visited the former home of Soong Chingling. What I've been realising is that these two great figures were survivors from the intellectual end of the communist revolution, and that their vision and idealism was constantly undermined by Mao's insistence on the inherent wisdom of the peasantry. The contemporary Chinese mistrust of debate and engagement is not simply an authoritarian thing - it also goes back to the conflicts of the Cultural Revolution period.
So our work, aiming to provoke the audience into thinking for itself, is a very radical thing here. We are not presenting a piece which offers neat solutions and easy answers. We offer a range of possibilities. This may well bemuse many of the audience - but that fact is itself the proof of its necessity.
Friday, October 08, 2010
There's a scene in the show about a Swedish company having a very difficult technical rehearsal in Shanghai. Art has been blending with life for the last few days..... Much of the problem is language, of course - but it really didn't help matters when our video camera disappeared, when the person operating the supertitles only arrived on the day of the show, and when Lloyd cut his hand open to the bone and needed surgery..... !
Anyway - we got there, and finally reached the climax of two years' work last night, when we played to a packed house of Chinese people. It was, of course, a completely different experience from performing in London. To begin with, the piece seemed less funny and more elusive - the style was clearly something very new for them, and they took time to respond. Qi's scenes with Mia got the laughter going - and this led to a really powerful sense of emotion as the play moved into more specifically Chinese areas of concern. The montage of Sammy's family history was incredibly powerful - and so was the story of Tsrui-hua and the abandoned baby.
We'd had some discussion of the ending before the show. Nick Yu was concerned that it might be controversial - apparently a play was banned a few years ago for its portrayal of traditional rituals surrounding death. The powers that be decided that this was "encouraging superstition", and so not appropriate to the image of a modern, "progressive" society. As so often, China wrong-footed me: I'd have expected concern over references to sexuality, to the single-child policy and the Cultural Revolution - but I'd never imagined that a scene about spiritual tradition could be considered sensitive. But, of course, it is. And the reason I like the scene - its affirmation of the value of these practices for today - is exactly the reason why. In China, the spiritual is political.
We (by which I mean the Chinese actors and myself, consulting with Nick) decided that we should keep the scene as it stands. So we were very aware of the resonances when it began. Jue said her line about "In my country, people believe...", and started to show the rituals - and the laughter grew louder and louder. Laughter not of mockery but of recognition. Even of celebration. Delicious, joyous, celebration.
What a wonderful night.
Monday, October 04, 2010
We've arrived here on planes from London, Bangalore and Gothenburg over the last couple of days, to be met by the smiling Tracy Lu (our SDAC project manager) and the vista of a city in the grip of Expo 2010. We drove past the Expo park on our way in from the airport - it's space age and packed to bursting. The Expo label is on our publicity, together with that of Starbucks (with a certain irony!). SDAC have been very clever. The poster has layers of photos from the show, rendered into psychedelic colours - so it's much more clearly aimed at a younger audience than our London one was. Lesson for the future.
Earlier in the week, I was thinking we were never going to get here. The shipping company Lloyd had asked to deal with our set freight turned out to be totally incompetent. I name no names..... but having taken the set to Heathrow on Sunday, it was fairly horrific to discover on Tuesday that it was still there, and that there was no prospect of it entering Shanghai for "several weeks". Lloyd and I drove to Heathrow on Wednesday, picked it up, demanded a full refund, and re-wrapped it so we could take it on the plane with us. We pitched up as a group of seven, with our cases, several rolls of mirrored dance floor, two long drapes and various cases of props. Amazingly, China Eastern Airlines were fine about the whole thing - as were Chinese customs. And with a huge sigh of relief we walked out into the Shanghai sunshine.
Friday, September 17, 2010
Reviews for Re-Orientations are really exciting - and so is the audience response. I hadn't realised until I saw the show at Soho just how funny it is!
"Impressive, bold in ambition and fluid - like Robert Lepage.... Exquisite moments.... a terrific scene milking the comedy of cultural confusion" - Guardian
Tuesday, September 14, 2010
Thursday, September 09, 2010
Anything but, actually! Something I've found whenever I've travelled to places where terrible things have happened, is that people are incredibly resilient. Where you expect to see "doom and gloom" you actually get vitality, humour, sexiness, and energy.
When we were first working on the play in Shanghai, we noticed that the western people often expected the Asians to have tragic tales to tell - and the Asian people responded by telling them. But we also noticed that the context was lively, buoyant and colourful. So we wanted to overturn the westerners' idea of a doom-laden East.
This is a play about what happens in the aftermath of tragedy - so of course it acknowledges the tragedies, but it also deals with the comedy and the energy that can follow.
2. How will your new play explore gender relationships as the others did?
The play has a number characters who are involved in relationships with people of the same sex - and the opposite sex. In this play, sexuality is a very fluid thing - people aren't tied down to a specific way of being. I think that we live in a time where lots of the old-fashioned divisions into East and West, male and female, gay and straight and so on don't really make sense. It's much less clear cut than people used to think.
3. It seems that political interest has filtered through to cultural interest in your plays, especially with China and India. Has the global economic shift towards the two countries played a big role in your new play?
Yes! Our theatre is very much a theatre for the globalised world. It's about the way in which people live now that we're all so mingled together, and the differences that this makes to our dealings with one another. The political and social changes in Asia are some of the most important facts in the world today. It's changing everything, and as artists we have to respond to that.
4. How do the cultures intermingle in the new play? united through crisis?
I'm not sure that they are united through crisis. I don't think the world has got to that stage yet - I wish it had. I think what happens in the play is actually what happened in our devising process - that people form very different backgrounds, with a range of different languages, are forced by the situation they are in to find ways of making contact. However temporarily.
5. Does the play have a moral ending, teach us anything about the world today? Will we be 're-orientated' as such?
I don't think it has a moral in a strict sense - but I do think it forces people to reconsider their identity - just as the characters do.
6. What influences does the play follow? historical, traditions, news coverage?
There are so many! The recent histories, of course. Yakshagana, Yueju, Strindberg, news media, rock videos, experimental film....
8. How will Re-orientations mix the contemporary with the old world?
Friday, September 03, 2010
Meantime - here's a little Q&A I did for the Shanghai publicity people:
1. What was your purpose in setting up Border Crossings?
Border Crossings is an attempt to make theatre about what it feels like to be alive in the current moment, when the world is so much more integrated than ever before. We wanted to set up a company which allowed different cultures to speak to each other, directly and equally, and which explored the ways in which theatre could bring about cross-cultural dialogues and exchanges.
2. What would you like to express through the series of Orientations plays?
These plays came about through an interest in traditional Asian performance forms, and particularly the forms where men play women and women play men. It was interesting to see how this might reflect some of the changes going on in gender relationships around the world. The plays have moved on a lot from that start point - but they are still about the many different forms of human love, and about the ways in which sexual relationships and cultural relationships overlap.
3. What does Re-Orientations talk about?
This is a play about the aftermath of catastrophe. All the main characters are dealing with some sort of loss. Julian and Marie are dealing with the loss of their daughter, and Song that of her lover. Tsrui-hua and Velu have also lost children. I suppose it's to do with the sense that we may have lost our future, and that many aspects of our past are difficult to face. It's about asking how we can move forward in the 21st century.
4. What's the speciality of the production Re-Orientations?
I think audiences will be very struck by the way we use lots of different languages on stage - Chinese, English, Swedish, Kannada... This is what the world is like now, of course - just walk down Nanjing Lu and you'll hear many languages spoken - but it's rare for the theatre to take this on, and still tell a story in a way that a whole range of audiences can understand. We also use lots of different theatrical languages - naturalism, film, yeuju, yakshagana, ballet, modern dance, projected textÉ. We wanted to come at the story from as many different angles as we could. I should add that the whole play has been made by the actors: there is no writer as such and no pre-existing script. We didn't know what the story would be before we started to work on stage.
5. Why did you choose Shanghai Dramatic Arts Centre as your partner?
SDAC was the only company I knew of in China which had the artistic vision and the capacity to be our partner organisation. I'd got to know the company's work over the course of several visits to Shanghai, and in particular Nick Yu's desire to engage in cultural dialogue, and to work in modern and innovative, experimental ways. When we found the three actors who are involved, we realised just what an exciting journey this would be.
Friday, August 27, 2010
We started work with the wonderful Geraldine Alexander as PK, replacing Nancy Crane. She worked hard and worked beautifully. At the end of the first week, both she and I realised that the character didn't have a story - indeed, didn't have a role in the piece. Everything she did would work better if it were done by somebody else. So we cut the character - and luckily Geraldine was happy to leave the project in its best interests.
Gerry - if you're reading this, there will be another time.
We've gone on to hone and tighten the plot-lines, and the show is much more precise and focused as a result. In fact, it's all getting rather exciting. One more week of rehearsals, and then we have audiences from the 7th.
Monday, August 09, 2010
Friday, July 30, 2010
Here is what she had to say about the experience:
"I think I had a unique internship that not everyone has the chance to experience. Most of my schoolmates work in business firms or big companies, staying in the office for the whole day and dealing with the paper works.
Border Crossings is a small theatre organization, but here I can see exactly how things work with a limited budget, like using the internet to connect and promote about Re-Orientations, writing application forms for funding, going around China Town and ask for making advertisement (although I failed the task)… In here I can see the possibility of my future career. In
Although theatre organizations seem to have nothing to do with what I am studying, I am very happy to find that they are actually related— some themes in Re-Orientations, like homosexuality, cultural and language issues, are just like the topics I am studying in university, just with a different form of expression, I am very happy to find that Sociology is everywhere!
I also learnt a lot about the theatre community. Before coming, my only theatre experience is watching dramas in
Li Che Kwan"
Wednesday, July 28, 2010
Frinton is famous for being tiny but professional, and for running a summer season on the old system of one play in rehearsal and one in performance, for a week each. It all happens in what looks like a church hall with a tiny stage, one front of house bar, tabs, and Ed himself selling raffle tickets before the show. Before the play starts, the National Anthem is played, and everybody stands up. It's like travelling back half a century or more.
Which said, Ed has got some very talented people to go there and sample the experience. I saw a Neil Simon comedy, directed by Antony Clark, no less. Jonathan Holloway is also on the bill for the summer. So these are professional people, and no mistake! I asked Tony what it was like to direct a play in a week. "You just do it", he said.
I was sorry to get an email from Nancy Crane a little while ago, saying she couldn't be in Re-Orientations. She's been one of the mainstays of this project for years - but long-term contracts at the Old Vic don't get offered very often, and I understand why she took it. The replacement is a wonderful performer called Geraldine Alexander. I'm excited to be working with her.
Friday, July 16, 2010
I often don't like verbatim theatre, because it's often undramatic and preachy. This was neither. My other concern about verbatim remains, however. In bringing us close to the psychology, the humanity of these victims, it loses sight of the wider political structures which caused this suffering in the first place. Even a play like Talking to Terrorists, which engaged with the "bad" side, rather than the "victims", reduced terrorism to a psychological aberration.
Friday, July 09, 2010
Luckily, we found out about Venturesome, which is a really terrific organisation working in just the way we need. Two of their people, Emilie and Rob, came to our office last week, and talked for two hours about the overall mission of the company, and the arts sector as a whole, as well as the particular project. And yesterday came the agreement to give the loan. A huge relief.
Emilie said that their internal meeting turned into a discussion about arts organisations in general, and ways in which they can develop through social enterprise etc. as the cuts in grant aid start to bite. We do need to start thinking like this.....
Friday, July 02, 2010
Wednesday, June 30, 2010
I remember seeing a Graham Vick production at the ROH, years ago, with John Tomlinson as Sachs, and being very disturbed by the overt German nationalism of the ending. In Germany, it's so discomforting that one recent production actually stopped the opera at this point, and unleashed a debate - both onstage and off - as to whether these things could be said today. Richard Jones has wonderfully reclaimed the piece from the Nazi shadow, by relating Sachs' call for German art to a tradition of liberal humanist thought and artistic leadership which is totally contrary to Nazism. Bach, Handel, Goethe, Joseph Beuys, Marlene Deitrich, Brecht and many more are explicitly cited as the tradition into which Sachs tells the Romantic poet Walther he must become absorbed. We need youth, rebellion and romanticism, yes - but we also need control and rationality. In this incredibly dialectical piece, Walther unleashes the anarchy of Romanticism, which Sachs understands and is attracted to - and then fuses with the tradition. Of course, if you think of that tradition as racist and violent, then the opera is repulsive. But if the tradition is seen as open, humane and rational - then this is a piece for the current moment. It didn't feel so much German as European. Not conservative but radical. And actually, incredibly moving.
Friday, June 25, 2010
It's an amazing experience. The "performance" (it is a performance, but not in a conventional way) happens through the internet. The 20 people in the London audience are linked to 20 people in an Asian country (we're only told which at the end, and asked not to spoil the revelation for others). So it's like a one-to-one piece - with moments of communion with the other performers and the rest of the audience. A lot of the time the piece seems to be about yourself - although, having compared notes with Nisha, it's actually a lot more precisely scripted than it at first appears. Through an awareness of our own affluence, our ease, and our own sense of loss, we are gradually led to question the relationship that is developing with the person in Asia - to think about its economic meaning, its politics, its emotional validity (or otherwise).
I emailed all my UK cast and told them to try and see it. It takes you to the heart of the tsunami experience, and places you in a discomforting relationship to it.
Wednesday, June 23, 2010
Sunday, June 20, 2010
Monday, June 14, 2010
It was in Zimbabwe that I met Ngugi wa Mirii in 1997. He had been there 15 years, and had established ZACT (Zimbabwe Association of Community Theatres): an extraordinary organisation which facilitated Theatre for Development on a grand scale throughout the region. The methodology was similar to Boal in Brazil - he showed me a framed photograph of himself shaking hands with Paolo Freire, mounted proudly on his wall. He also gave me a T-shirt, which I still have. It lists the many types of theatre which ZACT presented on the back, and on the front it says "Theatre for Conscientization and Development". I don't wear it often - just when I want to make a point. It usually works.